Great White Train

The Great White Train was an effort in the 1920s by Sydney based industrialists to convince Australians to Buy Australian Made.

Great White Train
The Great White Train at Kingston railway yards in Canberra
Service typeExhibition train
LocaleNew South Wales
First service11 November 1925 - 20 May 1926
Last service25 August 1926 - 22 November 1926
Former operator(s)New South Wales Government Railways
StartDarling Harbour Yard
EndDarling Harbour Yard
Distance travelled6,500 kilometres
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in)


The concept was put forward by the Australia Made Preference League, a consortium of New South Wales manufacturers with the Government of New South Wales contributing £5,000 to the project.[1][2] Two journeys were made, the first from 11 November 1925 until 20 May 1926, the second from 25 August to 22 November 1926.[3]

Composition of the trainEdit

The train comprised one Class 36 locomotive, two Pullman carriages, one dining car, one sleeping car, 15 exhibition coaches and a van.[4] At 309 metres, it was the longest ever train to operate in Australia.[2][3]

Radio station 2XT was part of AWA's contribution to the train. The station was set up at each town and broadcast to the local community but was heard as far away as New Zealand with a clear signal.[5] The sale of crystal radios to rural customers was one of the results but on the train's departure they had to make do with static filled reception from Sydney.[6] It was generally open from 09:00 until 22:30.[2]


The exhibitors were:[2] Aeroplane Flour, Angus & Robertson, Ashton Soap & Candle, Australian Forests, Australian Linoleum Co, AWA, Ball Phonograph, Beale & Co, Bebarfalds, Berlei, BHP, Bonds, Caldwell's Wines, Clifford Love & Co, Clinton-Williams, Davis Gelatine Co, Federal Distilleries, Gartwell, White, Hunts Oil & Gas Co, Isherwood & Bartlett, James Stedman-Henderson Sweets, John Vicars & Co, Jusfrute Products, Lewis Berger & Sons, Mangrovite Belting, Nestle's Anglo-Swiss Condensed Milk Co, Newlands Bros, RC Henderson Ltd, Queensland Insurance Co, Sydney Williams Ltd, Tooth & Co, Tucker and Co, Vitavox Phonograph, Water Conservation & Irrigation Commission, WD & HO Wills, WH Plumb


The train made two journeys in New South Wales after being loaded at Darling Harbour Yard.[2] Journalist and ex-politician Wallace Nelson was an official lecturer on the tour.[7]

The first tour started on 11 November 1925 and concluded on 20 May 1926, there was a Christmas break from 22 December to 4 January.[8] The towns visited were: Gosford, Newcastle, West Maitland, Cessnock, Singleton, Muswellbrook, Scone, Murrurundi, Quirindi, Werris Creek, Tamworth, Armidale, Binnaway, Merrygoen, Dunedoo, Gulgong, Mudgee, Rylstone, Lithgow, Bathurst, Blayney, Lyndhurst, Cowra, Orange, Wellington, Dubbo, Narromine, Peak Hill, Parkes, Forbes, Stockinbingal, Temora, Ariah Park, Ardlethan, Barellan, Griffith, Leeton, Yanco, Narrandera, Ganmain, Coolamon, Junee, Wagga Wagga, Henty, Culcairn, Albury, Brocklesby, Corowa, The Rock, Cootamundra, Wallendbeen, Young, Harden, Yass, Gunning, Goulburn, Moss Vale, Mittagong, Liverpool, Sydney, Granville

The second tour (25 August to 22 November 1926) of the train visited: Newcastle, East Maitland, Dungog, Gloucester, Wingham, Taree, Kendall, Wauchope, Kempsey, Macksville, Urunga, Raleigh, Coffs Harbour, Corumba, Glenreagh, South Grafton, Grafton, Rappville, Casino, Kyogle, Lismore, Bangalow, Byron Bay, Mullumbimby Murwillumbah, Thirroul, Wollongong, Berry, Nowra, Tarago, Michelago, Cooma, Nimmitabel, Bombala, Canberra, Queanbeyan, Bungendore, Botany, Mascot, Rockdale, Hurstville

In popular cultureEdit

The movie Undercover made in 1983 about the Berlei company contained a segment on a recreation of the train filmed at Taralga and on the Picton-Mittagong loop railway line.[3][9][10]


  1. ^ Hall, CR (1971), The Manufacturers: Australian Manufacturing Achievements to 1960, Sydney, Australia: Angus & Robertson, ISBN 0-207-12073-0
  2. ^ a b c d e The Great White Train Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin issue 673 November 1993 pages 267-278, 285
  3. ^ a b c The Great White Train and its 1926 stopover in Canberra Australian Railway History issue 996 October 2020 pages 8-15
  4. ^ Barrett, Desmond (February 1994), "Australiana and the Australian-Made Preference League", Australiana, 16 (1)
  5. ^ Shackle, Eric (February 2002). "Wireless Went on Wheels". Archived from the original on 26 March 2008. Retrieved 26 March 2008.
  6. ^ Harte, Bernard (2002), When Radio Was the Cat's Whiskers, Dural, NSW: Rosenberg Publishing, p. 101, ISBN 1-877058-08-4
  7. ^ Roe, J. L. (1986), Nelson, Wallace Alexander (1856 - 1943), Australian Dictionary of Biography, Online Edition, Australian National University, p. 678
  8. ^ The Great White Train The Land 13 November 1925 page 19
  9. ^ Filming rolls Taralga back in time Canberra Times 26 June 1983 page 9
  10. ^ Museum Scene Roundhouse October 1983 page 21